A web development company can help build your company's online business. Learn what they do so you can choose the right solution for your business.
If you’re looking to create your own website, or spruce up your existing site, you may be interested in hiring a web development company.
But what do they do, and how can this help boost your business—or even create new revenue streams?
Here’s a breakdown of what web development and app development companies do and the kinds of services they offer so you can figure out whether you want to hire one for your business.
A web development company helps you build a website or an application for business or personal use. The process of creating a website varies from one company to another, but many web development businesses follow similar procedures.
For instance, the developer may sit down and meet with you so you can get on the same page regarding the goals of your website. During this meeting, the developer will determine the best web design that will meet your business goals.
If the developer is building an application for you, they may begin with a similar discovery phase. From there, they will dig into the specific features your application needs to have and how they can complement your workflows or revenue objectives.
Throughout the development process, your developer checks in, showing you different versions of what they’re building. This is when you have a chance to provide feedback to make sure the final product is something that gives you the ROI (return on investment) you’re looking for.
The overall flow of the website design process tends to follow the same basic steps. Here are the most common services you’ll get from a web development company and a web designer:
Decide on the architecture, framework, and navigational structure of your site: This will involve figuring out the basic skeleton and flow of your site. In most cases, you are going through this process thinking about what your end-user needs, whether that’s external customers or employees. At this point, there’s very little graphic design involved.
Program and code the back end of your site: The back end of the website serves as its foundation because it provides services that are essential to the end user’s experience. For instance, the back end of the website may consist of databases, application programming interfaces (APIs), and other elements.
Weave in videos, audio, images, and other media elements: This is where your website begins to come to life. The developer will help you choose the kind of media that fits your brand profile and puts your target visitors in the best possible frame of mind.
Choose the most effective written content for your site: When you first get started, you may not have a lot of written content ready for publishing. But you can still begin strategizing with your web developer around the most effective blogs, articles, e-books, or white papers for your site.
Design the user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) for the front end: While the back end is essential to the underlying function of your website, the user experience and user interface power your front end. The goal is to make it easy, convenient, and fun for visitors to interact with.
Test your site: Many web developers will put your site through what’s known as a beta test. This is when they allow the website to go live and observe how it performs in the market. The people that end up testing your site may be a combination of those designated by you or the developer.
Fix bugs and pinpoint problems: One of the most significant benefits of the beta testing process is that it highlights issues with your site, giving you a chance to take care of them before your official publish date. Once the developer discovers any issues, they will address them one by one.
Test the performance and speed of your site: Just because users can move to your site smoothly doesn’t mean it will function well on all browsers, computers, and mobile devices. To ensure a rewarding experience for everyone who visits, your web development company will check to see how fast each page loads and whether its functions perform as expected.
Take the site live: Finally, your site is ready for the public. Even though this may feel like the end of a journey for you, for your web developer, it’s just another testing phase. They will wait to hear back from you about how your website is performing and may periodically run diagnostics on it to ensure everything is operating as planned.
Regularly update your site: In some ways, website technology is a lot like cell phones: Every few years, new tech makes everything function more efficiently, faster, or safer. What is a web development company in this context? It’s a constant advocate for your site, ensuring it has the most recent tech powering it.
Mobile application development follows some of the same principles and practices as website dev, but the end product is an app that runs on mobile devices. Sometimes, a business may structure their mobile application much like their website, using similar graphics, text, images, and navigational flow. This makes the developer’s job easier while reinforcing your brand identity. But even in situations where you want your mobile app to be very similar to your website, you and your developer will most likely still go through all of the following steps:
Choose which platform to use—or several: Many mobile apps are built for an iOS or Android operating system. This just means that the application will work on an iOS device or an Android device. But you can also have your app designed to work on both iOS and Android, as well as another operating system, such as Windows.
Back-end design: Similar to a website, an application also needs to have a back end that powers it. While a website can sometimes have much of its back end predesigned via a template, a mobile app usually has a back end consisting of several unique components. Your web developer, however, will likely have libraries of predesigned back-end features that they can combine to power your application.
User interface and user experience design: The user interface and user experience features of your mobile application may, in some ways, be even more important than they would for your website. For example, if your mobile app forces customers to spend more time purchasing an item than they would if they were using your website, this could hurt their experience and negatively impact your brand identity. So you can expect to spend a considerable amount of time with your web developer optimizing how your users experience your application.
Prototyping: Because each mobile app is so unique, you may have to go through several iterations before you get yours just right. Your developer will walk you through your options, the advantages and drawbacks each involves, and let you know how long it will take to design the next version.
Quality assurance and testing: Even though you may not experience much of the quality assurance (QA) process, every good developer has testing designed to ensure the quality and performance of your app. This may involve automated and manual testing, as well as automated bug finders, stress testing, load testing, black box testing, and white box testing.
Geofencing, power management, and notification features: Geofencing is used to adjust the user’s experience based on their physical location. Power management involves optimizing the amount of power your app pulls from the mobile devices it runs on. Notifications are pop-ups that let the user know about sales, new products, news, or other alerts. While you may not need all of these features, they’re common on many mobile apps.
Maintenance and support: Your web developer may offer you a warranty to guarantee the quality of their work and its performance over a certain period of time. In addition, you may get the option of additional support after the warranty period has expired. On the other hand, if you want to make changes to your app, you will likely have to sign a new contract with your developer.
Whether you need a new site, want to give your current site a refresh, or need a web app, a web developer can deliver. By openly communicating your business needs, you pave the way for a developer to use their full portfolio of skills on your behalf. Then they can help you build the kinds of online tools that both support your brand and generate profits.